An Exile in Native Soil: An Analysis of Exile in the Later Works of Nader Naderpour

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Iranian Studies Program, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA
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I received my Bachelor's degree in English from UCLA in 2008. I am currently a graduate student in the Iranian Studies Program at UCLA, where I am focusing mainly on Classical Persian Literature.

The main focus of this paper is on the concept of exile in the later works of a modern poet, Nader Naderpour. The paper argues that although Naderpour's physical exile began once he departed Iran in 1980 on his own volition, his true exile (an "emotional exile" rather than a physical one) started even before he left Iran, in the months prior to the revolution of 1979. In order to prove this argument, the paper begins by defining the term "exile" and differentiating between "chosen exile" and "forced exile", and goes on to give an overview of renowned figures who were banished throughout history. This overview narrows down into a short analysis of three specific literary figures--Ovid, Dante, and Hugo--and the elements of exile present in their respective works: a longing for the homeland, the difficulties of assimilation into a foreign culture, and an adverse reaction, on the poet's behalf, towards the forces which have caused him to be exiled. Using these three elements as a type of rubric, the paper continues by demonstrating how all these elements are present in Naderpour's poetry composed in France and the United States, after his final departure from Iran. However, all three of these factors found in the works of the above mentioned poets are also visible in Naderpour's works composed in the months before and after the revolution, therefore illustrating that his sense of exile was not born out of his physical departure from Iran, but rather came into fruition even while he still lived in his homeland. Naderpour's exile, therefore, is not just a physical one, but also an exile from the country and the people which he once associated with home; a country and a people who had greatly changed and from whom he felt distant. The paper concludes, however, that although Naderpour's exile within Iran was a result of the rift between his own vision of his homeland and what it had become, nonetheless Naderpour by no means ever isolated himself from his fellow Iranians and never forsook his deep affection for Iran, for he dedicated his whole life to the literature of this ancient land, and to the education of its people.

Academic Discipline : 
Persian Literature, Iranian Studies
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